TD and Schwab Making Progress toward Integration in 2023.
It was almost 3 years ago now that TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab announced their future merger. My comments in this space at the time were largely negative. As a steward of my clients’ assets, I have found TD Ameritrade to be a reliable partner. They have also been aggressive in building and sharing with us advisors new technology that help us do our jobs more accurately and efficiently. I still feel that the merger is trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. The combined firm will be an 800 pound gorilla in the advisory custodial space – and I always assume that 800 pound gorillas will tend to get fat and lazy. I hope I am wrong, and the firm will retain TD’s traditional commitment to customer service and support. Interestingly, my online whining of 3 years ago was sufficient to result in a phone call from the Department of Justice anti-trust team which was investigating the merger. Apparently my concerns as expressed to them didn’t shift the scales of justice, lol.
Regardless of my preferences, of course, the deal was going through. So here is an update on what to expect.
A final drop dead date for the merger has yet to be announced, but is widely expected to be in mid 2023. Until that time, the companies are operating as separate entities.
Once the merger happens, all client accounts will be held under the Charles Schwab brand. There will be new account numbers issued, and clients (and advisors) will access accounts under the Schwab website. None of your investment holdings will change. There will be no tax consequence, and no cost to you. The current TD website (advisorclient.com) will cease to exist once the integration has been completed.
The firms are currently laying the groundwork and testing systems to make sure this all happens seamlessly. You won’t need to do anything. If you already have a login to Adviorclient.com, the firms will automatically create a new login for you on the Schwab system. New accounts will be created at Schwab, again automatically, prior to the merger, and the assets from your current account will migrate over. If you do absolutely nothing at all, you will wake up one day and find statements from Charles Schwab, instead of TD Ameritrade, showing up in your email (or snail mail if you prefer) mailbox. If you were to call the customer service line, the agent will answer the phone with Charles Schwab rather than TD Ameritrade. Not much else should change.
From our side as advisors, there will be more work to do and new processes, workflows, and systems to learn. But I am so far impressed with the integration plan. Management seems to be proceeding in a very deliberate and thoughtful way, so as to minimize the risk of any disruption. Schwab is integrating some of the best technology features from the TD Ameritrade advisory platform into its own system – which is good news to me.
What do you need to do to prepare? Well the only advice I can offer would be to make sure you have setup your advisorclient.com access and logged into the TD system (at least once). Having online access setup prior to the integration will make life easier! So if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, now would be a great time to do so. Just go to advisorclient.com, click on “First time here” and enter one of your TD Ameritrade account numbers to setup your online access. Call Alex or I if you have any problems.